Turning A 1:150 Scale Model Car Into A Real Driving Car With Lights

Closing up the remotely controlled 1:150 scale model car. (credit: diorama111)

For many people having a miniature version of something like a car is already a miracle in itself, but there’s always the possibility to take matters a bit further, as YouTube channels like [diorama111] demonstrate. In this particular case, they took a 1:150 scale model of a Nissan Micra and installed a microcontroller, battery, remote steering and front, rear and indicator lights. Considering the 24.5 x 11.4 x 10.5 mm (LxWxH) size of the scale model, this is no small feat.

The original plastic bottom and wheels are removed, and replaced with a metal frame, as well as steerable front wheels that have a neodymium magnet attached to follow a metal guidance track that can be underneath the road surface. For the brains an ATtiny1616 MCU in QFN format is used to receive commands from the PIC79603 infrared receiver module and drive the motor attached to the rear axle via a DRV8210 motor controller IC. The remaining MCU pins are mostly used for turning the LEDs on the lights and signals on or off.

In the video the miniscule RC car is driven around a course with traffic lights, which gives a good impression of how this could be used in a large scale model of a city, with a hidden rail system to determine car routes. As for keeping the 30 mAh Li-Po battery charged, there’s a charge port on the bottom, but at these low current rates you could have hidden conductive charging points throughout the route as well, assuming you can fit a small enough charging coil in this little space.

(Thanks to [Keith Olson] for the tip)

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A 1/5th scale hydraulic jack model

Miniature Hydraulic Jack Is A Scale Marvel

Most hydraulic jacks are big tools that can lift upwards of 1000 kg but [Maker B]’s is quite a bit smaller than average.

The world’s smallest hydraulic jack is a tiny hand-machined model made out of tiny pieces of iron, brass and copper. But here’s the kicker: It’s a real hydraulic jack with real hydraulic fluid! At 1/5th scale, it obviously isn’t as strong as a full-size jack, but it can still easily lift an impressive 24 soda cans! Switching between the lathe and mill, [Maker B] shows how all the parts of the jack are made from stock metal in detail, and even explains in simple terms how a hydraulic jack works in this masterpiece of a video.

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of tiny objects cranked out from stock pieces of metal — often bolts. But the fact that the end result here is a working tool, puts it into a decidedly less common niche. Of course, given what we’ve seen from [Maker B] in the past, it’s hardly a surprise.
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We Like Big Keyboards And We Cannot Lie

So, let’s say you’re good at DOTA. Like, world-class good. How good do you think you’d be on a keyboard that’s 16 feet long, with a space bar the size of a person? Well, you’d need the rest of your team, that’s for sure.

Alienware have created the world’s largest mechanical keyboard and mouse, which are working, 14:1 scale representations of their AW420K keyboard and AW720M mouse. And they got Team Liquid to try it out.

While this may be a marketing ploy, it took quite a lot of work and weeks of 3D printing to faithfully reproduce those peripherals on that scale.

What’s really impressive are the custom key switches, which are described early on in the video after the break. They are nearly a foot wide with the keycap on, and they have an incredible four inches of travel.

Each of the 87 key switches is made with two snugly-fitting pieces of PVC, a thick rubber band, and of course, an actual, regular-size key switch to register the presses. Not satisfied with that, the team added a small piece of measuring tape to produce a nice clicky, tactile feedback. And, oh yeah, that space bar? The stabilizer is made from a 1″ copper pipe. Be sure to check it out in action after the break.

This just so happens to be the same size as the last keyboard we saw claiming to be the world’s largest, which was rejected from the Guinness Book because it’s not an exact replica of an existing keyboard. So, somebody call Guinness, we suppose.

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ISS Mimic Brings Space Station Down To Earth

Built at a cost of more than $150 billion over the last twenty-five years, the International Space Station is arguably one of humanity’s greatest engineering triumphs. Unfortunately, unlike Earthly construction feats such as the Hoover Dam, Burj Khalifa, or the Millau Viaduct, you can’t visit it in person to really appreciate its scale and complexity. Well, not unless you’ve got the $50 million or so to spare to buy a seat on a Dragon capsule.

Which is why the team behind the ISS Mimic project are trying to make the ISS a bit more relatable. The open source project consists of a 3D printable 1:100 model of the Station, which is linked to the telemetry coming down from the real thing. A dozen motors in the model rotate the solar arrays and radiators to match the positions of their full-scale counterparts, while LEDs light up to indicate the status of various onboard systems.

To learn more about the ISS Mimic, team members Bryan Murphy, Sam Treadgold, and Tristan Moody stopped by this week’s Hack Chat to bring us up to speed on the past, present, and future of this fascinating project.

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Obsessively Explaining The Visual Effects In Flight Of The Navigator

[Captain Disillusion] has earned a reputation on YouTube for debunking hoaxes and spreading a healthy sense of skepticism while having some of the highest production value on the platform and pretending to be some kind of inter-dimensional superhero. You’ve likely seen him give a careful explanation of how some viral video was faked alongside a generous dose of sarcastic humor and his own impressive visual effects. VFXcool is a series on his channel that takes deep dives into movies that are historically significant in the effects industry. For this installment, [Captain Disillusion]’s “intern”, [Alan], takes over to breakdown how filmmakers brought a futuristic spaceship to life in 1986’s Flight of the Navigator.

Making a movie requires hacks upon hacks, and that goes double in the era when the technology and techniques we now take for granted were being developed even as they were being put to film. The range of topics covered here is extreme: from full-scale props to models; from robotic motion control rigs to stop motion animation; from early computer graphics to the convoluted optical compositing that was necessary before digital workflows were possible. The tools themselves may be outdated, but understanding the history and the processes allows for a deeper insight into how we accomplish these kinds of effects today. And, really, it’s just so… cool.

[Captain Disillusion]’s previous VFXcool is all about the Back to the Future trilogy, and it’s a little shorter with more information on motion control rigs. We also love seeing how people make DIY effects in their own homes. LEGO actually seems like a pretty popular option for putting together whole scenes in amateur filmmaking.

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Falcon 9 Lamp Is Touching Down In The Living Room

Many of us have been inspired by the videos of the Falcon 9 booster, tall as an office building, riding a pillar of flame down to a pinpoint landing at Kennedy Space Center or on one of SpaceX’s floating landing pads in the ocean. It’s not often that we get to see science fiction fantasy become reality on such a short timescale, and while they might not be sold on the practicality of reusable rockets, even the most skeptical of observers have to admit it’s an incredible feat of engineering.

Though it can’t quite compare to the real thing, this 1:60 scale Falcon 9 lamp by [Sir Michael II] promises to bring a little of that excitement home every time you flick on the light. Combining a scratch built model of the reusable booster with some RGB LEDs, the hovering tableau recreates the tense final seconds before the towering rocket comes to a rest on its deployable landing legs. We imagine those last moments must seem like an eternity for the SpaceX engineers watching from home as well.

The LED “exhaust” without the fluff.

[Michael] walks readers through assembling the Falcon 9 model, which cleverly uses a 2 inch white PVC pipe as the fuselage. After all, why waste the time and material printing a long white cylinder when you can just buy one at the hardware store for a few bucks?

Dressed up with 3D printed details from Thingiverse user [twuelfing] and splashed with a bit of paint, it makes for a very convincing model. While the diameter of the pipe isn’t quite right for the claimed 1:60 scale, unless Elon Musk is coming over your place to hang out, we don’t think anyone will notice.

The rocket is attached to the pad with a piece of threaded steel rod, around which [Michael] has wrapped one meter of RGB LEDs controlled by an Arduino Uno. With some polyester fiber filler as a diffuser and a bit of code to get the LEDs flickering, he’s able to produce a realistic “flame” that looks to be coming from the Falcon 9’s center engine. While we admit it may not make a very good lamp in the traditional sense, it certainly gets extra points for style.

We’ve actually seen a similar trick used before to light up the engines of a LEGO Saturn V and Apollo Lunar Module. It’s amazing how realistic the effect can be, and we’d love to see it used more often. We’d also like to see more model rockets that actually levitate over their pads, but one step at a time.

Toy O-Scope Is Dope

Not many of our childhood doll and action figure’s accessories revolved around lab equipment except maybe an Erlenmeyer flask if they were a “scientist.” No, they tended to be toasters, vehicles, and guns. When we were young, our heroes made food, drove sexy automobiles, and fought bad guys. Now that we’re older, some of our heroes wield soldering irons, keyboards, and oscilloscopes. [Adrian Herbez] made a scale model oscilloscope that outshines the beakers and test tube racks of yesteryear. Video also shown below. Continue reading “Toy O-Scope Is Dope”